Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Ben Fuller's Debut Album 'Little Siberia'

With a weathered voice and ragged soul that belie his youthful good looks, Ben Fuller shares an ethos and sound more akin to legends of the past than so many artists currently waving the folk flag. While Fuller's diverse influences, ranging from the heartfelt angst of Ryan Adams to the rambling spirit of the Grateful Dead, map the course of Little Siberia, it's Fuller's original take on the American Dream, and the spirit of 70s AM rock, that shines through. Deftly bouncing from upbeat folk-pop ("Oh Memory") to reggae-inflected jam ("Love Song For the People"), Fuller's semi-autobiographical take on American dreamers and searchers contains elements of melancholy, but in the end, optimism prevails and Fuller eludes jaded cynicism at every turn. 

The origin story of Little Siberia speaks to the natural, organic feel of the record. The album was inspired while Fuller hunkered down in the isolated wilderness of Lake Tahoe's West shore. Snow-bound with his pregnant wife and daughter in a secluded cabin during one of the wettest winters on record, Fuller crafted a mosaic of stories sung from a place of introspection and re-birth. "Little Siberia is the nickname of the neighborhood we lived in while writing the songs for the record," explains Fuller. "On a deeper level, Little Siberia refers to the intimate, emotional, isolated space within each of us where we process things we don't necessarily want to or are able to share with others."

The recording of Little Siberia is a tribute to a bygone era. Much of the tracking was done in the same room as Pet Sounds and on the same 70's Gretch drum kit from Tom Petty's Wildflowers. It was then mixed to 2" analog tape, giving Little Siberia a warm, vintage sound, one that can only be achieved via analog. Produced by two-time Grammy award winner Jesus "Chuy" Flores and artist/producer Scott Fisher (founders of Mondial Music Group), Little Siberia is a love letter to the past, and a mature, artistic leap forward for Ben Fuller as a songwriter and human being.

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